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All Eyes on Beirut

The Facts

Hotels
Beirut Marriott St. Elie Blvd.; 961-1/840-540, fax 961-1/840-345; doubles from $165.
Le Vendôme Inter-Continental Ain Mreysseh; 961-1/369-280, fax 961-1/360-169; doubles from $225.
Le Bristol Rue Mme Curie; 961-1/351-400, fax 961-1/351-409; doubles from $115. A grand old hotel with a wonderful rooftop bar.
Beirut Commodore Hôtel Rue Commodore; 961-1/350-400, fax 961-1/345-806; doubles from $160. A favorite of reporters during the war.
Summerland Hotel Jnah Summerland; 961-1/858-000, fax 961-1/856-666; doubles from $195. The only one with a pool and a beach.
Prices do not include 21 percent tax and service charge.

Restaurants and Bars
Zinc 37 Rue Seifeddine el-Khatib; 961-3/873-333; dinner for two $60.
Babylone 33 Rue Abdel Wahab El Inglizi; 961-1/219-539; dinner for two $50.
Pacífico Rue Monot; 961-1/204-446; dinner for two $50.
Al Mijana 245 Rue Abdel Wahab El Inglizi; 961-1/328-082; dinner for two $70.
Le Rabelais Monte Accaoui, Immeuble Andraos; 961-1/330-648; dinner for two $100. French haute cuisine at moderate prices.
Le Chef Rue Général Gouraud; 961-1/445-373; lunch for two $10. A homey and welcoming place near the old souk.
Burj Al Hamam Antelias Hwy.; 961-4/411-030; dinner for two $70. Uninspiring modern interior but superb Lebanese food.

Don't Miss
From the capital you can take day trips to the palace of Beiteddine, high in the Chouf mountains, or to Baalbek, with its 72-foot-high Roman columns. But it is in Byblos, just an hour away, that Lebanon's rich history comes together.

The Old Town of Byblos is dominated by a fine Crusades-era castle and defended by stout walls. Inside lies the detritus of 7,000 years: Phoenician streets, tombs, and storehouses alongside Egyptian-style obelisks and Roman colonnades, and a tiny, perfect Roman theater. The old fishing port, built by Phoenicians 3,000 years ago, is a jewel. You can view it at leisure from the Byblos Fishing Club, a restaurant/bar run by 80-year-old Pépé Abed. It is a virtual monument to "the good old days" before the war, when every star from Bardot to Brando paid Pépé a visit. Pépé also has a museum filled with ocean treasures, and a trove of stories about his sexual conquests (he claims to have had an affair with Ava Gardner, among other celebs).

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